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04/12/2010 Nike: Brand of Cheats?


It was hard to miss the buzz about Nike's new Tiger Woods commercial, with a close up of a contrite Tiger "listening" to his father Earl ask him questions from on high. Nike obviously thinks it's time to bring their big guy back. But rather than sticking to something Tiger's good at, golf, they wanted to address something he's really bad at, moral character.

Watching this ad, it made me wonder: Is Nike becoming the brand of cheaters? And if they are, why aren't they doing ads with a more sympathetic cheater, like Marion Jones. After all, Nike had a great run commercial run with Marion.

If you compare these two cheaters, you have one who abused his celebrity and showed people that his outward appearance was a sham. Tiger's hasn't really paid any price for his cheating and it certainly didn't affect his golf or his sports career. His cheating had nothing to do with his sport and everything to do with his image.

Marion Jones cheated on her sports by taking performance-enhancing drugs. How much that affected her success we'll never know. But she paid a HUGE price for her cheating. Or rather, she paid a huge price for her lying, since she was convicted not for her drug use but by lying to a grand jury.

Anyone watching her during the ordeal knew that she understood how badly she betrayed our trust. And after spending time in jail (6 months) she picks herself up and is trying a comeback at basketball.

So why isn't Nike making a Marion Jones commercial? If Nike asked Marion Jones the same questions Tiger got in his commercial, you know the answers would be completely different.

Marion learned the hard way that decisions have consequences, morally and financially.

What has Tiger learned? My imagined dialogue goes like this:

Earl: "Did you learn anything?"
Tiger: "Yes Dad. I learned that when I get out of control, it's hard to keep things quiet."
Earl: "Anything else?"
Tiger: "Yes Dad. You and Agent Mulder were right. Trust no one. I left myself exposed to too many people I didn't trust."
Earl: "Tiger, seriously, what did you learn."
Tiger: "I learned that no woman will ever love me as much as my Mother."
Earl: "Good boy, Tiger."

[That last part I nabbed from a quote by brilliant author and famed womanizer Norman Mailer]

Nike, the brand of cheats? They just do it, after all.

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